Break through backyard barbeque boundaries with this Grilled Mexican Pizza with Salsa Verde and Chorizo. Oozing Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, and peppery arugula bring even more flavor to the party. After trying this you’ll see why the grill is a pizza’s best friend.
Why Grill Pizza?
More like, why not grill pizza? First, the grill creates the fiery conditions pizza needs to blister and bubble to perfection. Plus, it keeps your kitchen cooler in the summer. Pizza needs scorching heat so why heat up the house if you have a rig outside that will do the job even better. The grill gives pizza a rich, smoky flavor your conventional oven is incapable of. I like to place a ceramic pizza stone on the grill, and let it harness all that crazy heat. It ensures even cooking and nothing gets lost between the grates. Whether you have charcoal or gas, fire it up for something other than burgers and dogs. Your guests will go wild.
Have you ever tried stretching pizza dough just to have it incessantly snap back, then get so frustrated your fingers start making holes, then reach a tipping point where you just want to hurl it against the wall like a high-and-tight fastball? That was me four days ago. I used store-bought dough, which was more uncooperative than a petulant child. It was edible but uneven, burned one side, doughy on the other. Far from blog-worthy!
After a little research, thankfully I found none other than Italian Iron Chef Mario Batali’s white wine pizza dough. Hallelujah! It’s the perfect canvas to showcase endless pizza possibilities. It has amazing texture, was a breeze to work with, and doesn’t require hours of rising time. It tripled in size after just 45 minutes. Definitely now my go-to dough!
Topping Off a Grilled Mexican Pizza
Now that you have fresh, pillowy dough, get your grill and pizza stone screaming hot while topping the pie. If the grill has a temperature gauge, keep it around 525-550°F. Next, liberally coat your pizza peel with cornmeal before shaping the dough. I found flattening it out and holding on to the edges to let the weight of the dough itself do the stretching work best. I then placed it on the peel and pushed it out a bit further with my fingers. The eightish-ounce piece of dough became a 12×9 rectangle.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to overload/overstuff things. Jawbreaking burgers piled too high, wraps that are too full to wrap, omelets that have more veggies than eggs, you get the idea. I showed considerable restraint here when it came to the toppings. Too much sauce makes the dough heavy and soggy. Plus, a weighed-down, over-topped pizza won’t want to slide off the peel onto the stone. Less is more when it comes to building the ultimate pie.
Salsa verde gets things started and sets the tone for this Mexican-inspired pizza. Buy your favorite brand, make your favorite recipe, or check out our Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde for inspiration. In case you’re not familiar with tomatillos, even though they look like little green tomatoes, they’re most closely related to gooseberries. Another fruit that’s covered in papery husks. Tomatillos are distant cousins to tomatoes, contrary to popular belief. They have a unique, citrusy, tart and tangy flavor that’s best when unripe.
Next up is the cheese. I used Oaxaca, the ‘mozzarella of Mexico’, which is similar to unaged Monterey Jack. Oaxaca is named after the southern Mexican state where it was first made. It’s a white, semi-hard cheese with a mozzarella-like, string cheese texture that looks like a nautical knot. It grates easily and has a mild, nutty flavor that balances the kick of the salsa verde and chorizo. Also, I crumbled queso fresco over top of the grilled pizza at the end for a bit more taste and texture.
To bring your grilled mexican pizza to the finish line, scatter chorizo, heirloom cherry tomatoes, oil-glossed sun-dried tomatoes, and diced red onion over the cheese for tasty flare. And love that pop of color!
Amazing how the grill turns an unassuming disk of dough with a handful of toppings into something that becomes a surefire feeding frenzy. Pile delicately-dressed arugula high or low, sprinkle crumbled queso fresco, slice, and watch your gang go nuts. Happy Summer!!
Break through backyard BBQ boundaries with this Grilled Mexican Pizza with Salsa Verde and Chorizo. Oozing Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, and peppery arugula bring even more flavor to the party.
- Pizza peel
- Pizza stone, around 14-inches diameter
- Pizza cutter, makes life easier
- ¼ cup white wine, (I used a good Pinot Grigio, room temp)
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1 ½ ounces fresh yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 ½ cups flour, divided
- 1-2 tablespoons cornmeal
- ¼-⅓ salsa verde, store bought or homemade*
- 1 cup shredded Oaxaca cheese, or Monterey Jack
- 1 link Chorizo sausage, diced, about 3 ounces
- ½ cup assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- Arugula lightly dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper
- Queso Fresco, crumbled
- 1 ½ lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed (12-15)
- ½ large Vidalia or Spanish onion
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 4-6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Juice and zest from 1 large lime
- ½ packed cup fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons honey
Place wine, water, and yeast in a large bowl; whisk until combined. Mix in honey, salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it becomes a loose batter. Add 2 more cups of flour and stir for 2-3 minutes. Incorporate as much flour as you can with the wooden spoon.
Bring dough together by hand and turn out onto a floured board or marble surface with the remaining ½ cup flour. Knead around 6 minutes until dough is smooth and firm. Place dough in an oiled bowl, using the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover bowl with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm part of the kitchen for 45 minutes. The dough should triple in size.
For individual pizzas, cut the dough into 4 pieces and knead into rounds. Cut into 3 pieces for pizzas that will serve 2. Let rest 15 minutes. (Dough can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
Preheat grill with pizza stone on grates over medium-high heat to around 500°F. Sprinkle pizza peel with 1-2 tablespoons of cornmeal. Stretch dough into desired shape and place on pizza peel (12x9 rectangle is shown). Spread salsa verde over dough. Top with Oaxaca cheese. Sprinkle chorizo, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and red onion over cheese. Slide pizza off peel and onto preheated stone. Close the lid and grill 5-6 minutes, or until crust is golden on the edges and brown on the bottom. When done, use a large spatula to help transfer pizza back onto the peel. Top with arugula and crumbled queso fresco, as desired. Cut into slices and serve.
Preheat oven to 375°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatillos, onion, peppers, and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Let vegetables cool enough to peel garlic and remove seeds and charred skin from the peppers. Then transfer all vegetables to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth (be sure to leave space for steam to vent when blending hot ingredients). Next, blend in lime juice and zest, cilantro, and honey. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
Serve with chips, or over steak, chicken, pork, fish or seafood. It’s even great on omelets! Leftover sauce can be frozen in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat on medium-low when ready to use.
Pizza dough recipe yields 25 ounces of dough, enough for 3 12x9 pizzas.